Nigerians must insist on transparency -Vice President Osinbajo

Timothy Choji, Abuja

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo says extreme corruption by past leaders of the country retarded development in all sectors of the country.

 “Our country had been left in the hands of a few people, who raped the nation of its resources. No nation that has continually been looted by its leaders can expect to be normal or expect to function normally,” he said.

He was speaking at a national gathering of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria,-Anglican Communion, which held at the St. Andrews Anglican Church, Kubwa, Abuja.

The Vice President therefore said the current administration led by President Mohammadu Buhari represents a positive change from the past, which he emphasized was a very difficult task.

Primary Duty

Professor Osinbajo said all citizens of Nigeria had a primary duty of insisting that government does the right thing and maintains the integrity of the nation before the comity of nations.

“It is important that we recognize the fact that integrity in governance, insisting that our leaders should be held to account for the resources of this nation, is one of the primary duties that we have, not just as citizens but in particular, the church,” he stated.

Vice President Osinbajo admonished Nigerians to imbibe the attitude of savings, hard work and innovation, in order to move the country forward.

Commenting on the fight against boko haram, the Vice President said the terrorists had been tamed and government would ensure that the homes and settlements of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, were safe before they returned,.

“By and large, the forces of the terrorists have been degraded completely. But before the IDPs move back to their homes, the issue has to be dealt with very carefully. We must ensure that the places are safe for those who are returning.  A lot of such places including farmlands have been mined. So we have to de-mine them first and a lot of investment has to be deployed into re-building, so that people will begin to return to their homes. That will happen and I believe that God will help us make progress along this line,” Professor Osinbajo explained.

He also explained that Nigeria would not take any facility from the International Monetary Fund IMF, as being insinuated in some quarters.

Human Development

He informed the gathering that the federal government had captured a lot of human development programmes in the 2016 budget, to address unemployment and make life better for the down trodden.

He listed some of such programmes to include the recruitment of 500, 000 graduates to be trained and deployed as teachers in public schools, a skills acquisition programme for 370, 000 young people, the Conditional Cash Transfer programme for the extremely poor and the provision of soft loans for market women among others.

Earlier, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Arch Bishop Nicholas Okoh commended the federal government for its dogged fight against corruption, which he said should continue.

“We commend the government for its decisiveness in the fight against corruption and we ask that it should continue to go in that direction, because it means well for the country. Corruption debases a society because what is meant for everybody is commandeered by a few and that brings poverty and degradation to people. We are in full support of the government in its war against all forms of leakages of government money,” he said.

On the return of displaced persons, currently in camps to their homes, the cleric urged government to put in place measures that will ensure their safety.

“We are very happy about the pronouncement of government that sometime in the first quarter of this year, the IDPs will be decamped, to return to their homes.We request that the security agents should be tasked and assurances should be given that measures will be taken to ensure that the returnees do not fall into any ambush that will be laid by the boko haram,” he pleaded.

Bishop Okoh said the fall in oil prices globally is a big challenge for government and corporate bodies, including the church.

He  advised government to utilize the knowledge of economic experts, in order to address the situation.

The cleric cautioned against the retrenchment of workers at any level, to prevent hardship and crime.